In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Union Power Minister, R.K. Singh, said that according to the data made available by states and union territories (excluding three states and four union territories from which the data has not been received), the states have billed for only 84.27% of the electricity supplied.
Singh noted that the losses in terms of unbilled units came to 15.73%. He attributed these losses to faulty meters, wrong billing, and pilferage of power.
The minister further noted that high aggregate technical and commercial (AT&C) losses of distribution companies (DISCOMs) beyond the permissible limits lead to financial losses for the DISCOMs, and this hurts the power sector value chain including the impact on generation companies.
The minister, in his reply, stated that in the Union Budget 2020-21, the government had informed Parliament of the measures that the government was planning to reform the DISCOMs, and the plan to promote smart metering.
Stressing on the need for the DISCOMs to take the lead in reducing the AT&C losses, Singh said that electricity is a concurrent subject, and the distribution of electricity falls under the purview of the state governments. So, it’s up to the state governments to cut down on power losses.
Highlighting the government’s initiatives to cut down power losses and help the states to achieve this target, the minister said that the government had launched various programs like Integrated Power Development Schemes (IPDS), Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY). The main aim of these programs is to provide help to states in building a robust transmission infrastructure and cut down on AT&C losses.
In his reply, Singh noted that under the IPDS and DDUGJY programs, the technical loss reduction measures, such as the creation of sub-transmission and distribution infrastructure, metering of distribution transformers, underground cabling, and IT-enabled distribution infrastructure had been envisaged.
Recently, the Ministry of Power (MoP) asked the state and UT governments to request the state electricity regulatory commissions to consider reducing the retail power tariff to consumers who purchase power through prepayment meters.